More services at B.C.’s Animal Health Centre and Plant Health Laboratory are being offered as the Ministry of Agriculture and Food continues to repair and replace equipment damaged in the November 2021 flooding, including the reopening today of the centre’s foreign animal disease laboratory.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency re-certified the foreign animal disease laboratory in late April, which allows the resumption of testing for diseases such as African swine fever and avian influenza. The return of these services means testing can be conducted close to B.C.’s agriculture communities in the Okanagan and Fraser Valley, ensuring British Columbian farmers, veterinarians and medical professionals receive results quicker than samples sent out of province, helping to reduce response time in emergencies.
“Getting this facility back up and running has been a priority for the ministry, and with the recent threat of avian influenza, it’s of utmost importance that we provide timely testing and results to B.C.’s agricultural community,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “As we continue to work on getting everything back up and running, we’ll be looking at both short-term and long-term options for how we can not only restore but improve upon the services we offer at our plant and animal health centre labs.”
The resumption of foreign animal disease testing follows the reopening of the Plant Health Laboratory, including entomology services, on April 11 and the Animal Health Centre accepting samples for serology services on March 21, as well as histology and parasitology services in mid-April.
Bacteriology, virology and molecular diagnostic services, along with limited post-mortem services, are expected to resume in the coming weeks. Services for post-mortem examination will be initially limited to poultry and tissue specimens only, as repairs continue on equipment needed to provide a full range of post-mortem services, including for larger livestock and other animals.
A full update on services currently offered, along with information regarding alternative services, is available on the ministry’s website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/plant-health/plant-health-laboratory